James David “Dave” Power III, founder and retired chairman of J.D. Power, passed away this weekend at the age of 89.
“The world has lost a true pioneer and we have lost a visionary spirit that has continued to inspire, inform and galvanize our company’s growth for over 50 years,” said Dave Habiger, president and CEO of J.D. Power.
Dubbed “Mr. Quality” by Motor Trend magazine, Power was widely credited with transforming the auto industry by channeling detailed customer experience data into practical insights and critical intelligence that changed everything from manufacturing to marketing. He founded the company in 1968 with his wife Julie, and together they quickly built J.D. Power into one of the world’s most recognizable brands. With customer feedback often seen as less important by companies who provided products or services, Power was constantly motivated to bring attention to the “Voice of the Customer.” And he would often express his immense pride in his colleagues, or “Associates,” making such groundbreaking contributions to the company and the industries it served.
"Dave was one of the most remarkable people I have ever known," said Stuart Pardau, who worked as full-time in-house counsel at J.D. Power for a decade up until 2011. "Not only as someone who has had a significant influence on global business practices, but as someone who has touched the lives of many thousands of people (including me) in very positive ways. His legacy will live on."
"I had the privilege of working as one of the “Associates” of J.D. Power and Associates for over two decades. During that time I came to know Dave Power as not only an innovator, a trailblazer, and a transformational leader, but also as an incredibly kind and down-to-earth guy," said Melissa Sauter, CEO of Escalent. "He built a company that truly felt like a family, aligned around the things that he was passionate about: Independence, Integrity and Impact. His vision and work had a profound influence on industries, corporations and consumers by shining a bright light on the voice of the customer. He will be missed, and I will forever be grateful for his impact on me and all who had the pleasure of working with him."
Data and analytic insights enabled significant quality improvements across every major automotive manufacturer. Today, J.D. Power is known throughout the world as a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics across every major industry.
As J.D. Power studies began to detect nascent industry trends and critical quality flaws, the industry began to embrace the company’s data as a critical source of industry intelligence, and a key component to product strategy. That recognition was memorialized in 1992 when Power received the Automotive Hall of Fame’s Distinguished Service Citation, which is awarded each year to the industry’s most accomplished leaders.
In the years that followed, Power successfully diversified the business, expanding into the financial services, healthcare, home, insurance, technology, media and telecom, travel and hospitality and utilities industries. Building on Power’s foundation of concrete experiential data and analytics, J.D. Power is now a global leader in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling to understand consumer behavior.
Power stepped back from day-to-day leadership of the company in 2005 but continued to stay involved in an advisory capacity for many years.